Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A garrison, especially a fortress of the kind established in the southwest United States by the Spanish to protect their holdings and missions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A garrisoned place, especially one that is or was, at one time, under Spanish control.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A place of defense; a fortress; a garrison; a fortress; a garrison or guardhouse.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A seat of government; especially, a place of military authority; a military post: used in the southwestern United States.
  • n. A place of deportation for criminals; a penitentiary.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fortress established in the southwestern United States by the Spanish in order to protect their missions and other holdings

Etymologies

Spanish, from Latin praesidium, guard, defense, from praesidēre, to guard; see preside.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Spanish, from Latin praesidium. Coined in 1763. (Wiktionary)

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